Startup Spotlight #14: BirdShades

Startup Spotlight has featured lots of different startups, such as fintech, education tech or other various verticals. But BirdShades is…


Startup Spotlight has featured lots of different startups, such as fintech, education tech or other various verticals. But BirdShades is not like any other startup that we wrote about. As a category, we can say that BirdShades is an ecology startup.

We love all living beings at Hackquarters, we even have a Chief Bone&Bark Officer called Moka. Founders of BirdShades are also animal-lovers and they witnessed a depressing story (which you can find below) and that pushed them to create an amazing piece of innovation to save millions of birds from colliding into skyscrapers and buildings.

A depressing sight for any healthy person.

BirdShades produces a film to be used on glass surfaces so that birds do not collide with buildings. They use a special technique to make that film only visible to birds. You can find more info about BirdShades, with words from one of the founders, below.

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What is the name of your startup?
BirdShades

What is the website address of BirdShades?
https://www.birdshades.com

Where is your startup based?
Austria

What are your targeted verticals for your startup?
Material Sciences, Environment Tech

Tell us what your startup does.
We give birds the vision to stop window collisions. We are developing a transparent film which makes glass visible to birds, but is invisible for humans. Our goal is to save billions of birds worldwide from deadly collisions with glass surfaces and to enable freedom in architectural glass design.

Tell us about your team.
We’re two enthusiastic biologists with expertise in animal behavior, ecology and biodiversity.

When and why did you found your startup?
It all started with a freezer full of dead birds. One of our professors at university collected hundreds of dead birds which collided with a single glass corridor at university campus. We were shocked and wondered if this could be an individual case. We then started to research and found much more and bigger bird killers out there. In the US alone 1 billion birds die every year due to collisions with glass. The fast growth of our cities and the widespread adoption of glass as an effective and eye-pleasing material are putting the natural ecosystem at risk.

Now regulations and legislation are getting stricter and building owners are increasingly being held accountable and have to retrofit their beautiful glass buildings. The effective products available on the market affect the clear view through the glass significantly and are therefore not very accepted by customers. We found a way to keep the aesthetic design of clear glass and avoid bird collisions.

What are your key and unique features?
We build our product on the special ability of birds to see UV-light – which is not visible for us humans. The design we develop is unique because we focus on the particular physiology and behavior of many bird species. In combination with an interdisciplinary approach with experts in chemistry, physics and material sciences we create a solution which is highly visible for birds but not for humans.

What is your growth like?
We are currently in Seed Stage. In May 2019 we have produced the Beta-Version of our transparent film and sell it to pilot customers who will evaluate our solution and bring valuable feedback for our further development.

Tell us about the numbers that matter to you.
1 billion birds can be saved from deadly collisions with glass surfaces every year in the US alone by applying BirdShades. Market potential of 637 million USD in annual revenue with the capability to increase.

What are your plans for next year and the next 5 years?
We are currently fundraising for our further product development and to supply more pilot customers. We are going to improve our film in the next 12 months and plan to have a market-ready product in the middle of 2020. After this we want to implement our technology into glass to supply the prefit market. We plan to grow our business worldwide in the next years and to establish our company in the emerging market and become the leader in this sector.

Did you receive any investments?
We have received Pre-Seed Investment from SOSV and spent 3 months at the RebelBio accelerator program.

Tell us 3 startups that excite you, and why?
Algiknit: the way they want to transform the fashion industry using sustainable natural resources which they modify with great biotech is very exciting

Impossible Foods: their journey to revolutionize the sustainable and vegetarian food market is great. Plant-based and tasty cheeseburgers? Love it.

Microendo: A fellow startup we have met at RebelBio Cohort VII. They design bio-fertilizers by using plant microbiomes – very cool!



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